The History of the Old Course at St. Andrews

As a golf fan, being able to go to various golf courses around the globe could be an everyday thing. Golf players are more thrilled and challenged in seeking new golf courses, which put their skills to the test. Today, there are a lot of new golf courses across the globe that boast a unique appearance and exciting features. Interestingly, not all world-class golf courses are found in new designs; old golf courses also showcase a fascinating classical style that continues to be a part of our society today. 

The Oldest Golf Course in the World

The Old Course at St. Andrews is considered the world’s oldest golf course. This old course located in Scotland holds several historical riches. It was established in 1552 and was regarded as the ‘home of golf’ ever since. This hundreds-of-years old golf course had been home to various professional and amateur tournaments, which include The Open Championship, Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, and St. Andrews Links Trophy. With its multiple achievements and excellent features, it is no doubt that this golf course is usually among the list of the greatest golf clubs in the world; its credibility and greatness are unmatched, giving golf enthusiasts a wonderful classical ambiance. 

History of the Old Course at St. Andrews

We can trace back the origins of the Old Course at St. Andrews to the early 15th century. From the history of golf, it was first played in Scotland – on the links at St. Andrews – giving it the title ‘home of golf.’ During the time, golf became an exciting sport to many people up to the point when young men chose to play rather than practicing archery. This irresponsible act prompted James II of Scotland to ban the game in 1457, but the ban was lifted nearly fifty years later by James IV in 1502 – who was known to be a fan of the sport. 

Over the years, golf continued to be a significant game in Scotland; the archbishop permitted the townspeople to play in the links at St. Andrews. Hundreds of years later, the links at St. Andrews became more popular, which led to the creation of the Society of St. Andrews Golfers in 1754. The group consisted of twenty-two members: noblemen, professors, and landowners; all of them played a vital role in the development of The R&A, which is a significant governing body in the golf world. 

However, the following years were not fruitful for the St. Andrews Links as it became bankrupt in 1797. This event led to drastic measures; authorities allowed rabbit farming on the golf course in hopes of keeping the place running. Thankfully, the St. Andrews Links was saved in 1821 when a local landowner named James Cheape bought the land. Cheape himself was a fan of golf and made a significant contribution to the development of St. Andrews Links. 

Interestingly, it didn’t take long for the golf course to gain recognition and develop in terms of its design and features. Despite not having an architect to improve the golf course further, several changes were made to upgrade its appearance; Daw Anderson and Old Tom Morris made these enhancements in the late 19th century. Because of the St. Andrews Links’ development, more golfers became interested in playing the game. 

Ever since the 19th century, the Old Course at St. Andrews has hosted several professional golf tournaments, including one of the oldest: The Open Championship. The Old Course at St. Andrews is the home of this professional golf tournament since 1873 – hosting the event twenty-nine times until 2015; this record is the most number of The Open Championships held in any golf course. 

The Old Course at St. Andrews heavily influenced the golfing world; many professional golfers, as well as other golf enthusiasts, have experienced playing in this classical golf course. Years later, golfers continued to play in the Old Course, attracting many other golf lovers all around the globe. Today, the Old Course at St. Andrews remains to be considered the oldest and one of the best golf courses worldwide. One wonders how many famous golfing presidents such as President Woodrow Wilson played the old course.